Canonical has presented
Ubuntu’s tablet interface – the next step towards one
unified family of experiences for personal computing on
phones, tablets, PCs and TVs.
“Multi-tasking productivity meets elegance and rigorous
security in our tablet experience,“ said Mark Shuttleworth,
founder of Ubuntu and Canonical. “Our family of interfaces
now scales across all screens, so your phone can provide
tablet, PC and TV experiences when you dock it. That’s
unique to Ubuntu and it’s the future of personal computing.”
“Fashion industry friends say the Ubuntu phone and tablet
are the most beautiful interfaces they’ve seen for touch”
said Ivo Weevers, who leads the Canonical design team.
“We’re inspired by the twin goals of style and usability, and
working with developers who are motivated to create the
best possible experience for friends, family and industry.”
The new tablet design doesn’t just raise the bar for elegant
presentation, it breaks new ground in design and
Real multitasking: Uniquely, Ubuntu allows a phone app on the screen at the same time as a tablet app. The Ubuntu
side stage was invented both to enable efficient multitasking
and to improve the usability of phone apps on tablets.
• Secure multi-user: Multiple accounts on one tablet with full encryption for personal data, combined with the
trusted Ubuntu security model that is widely used in
banks, governments and sensitive environments, making
it ideal for work and family use.
• Voice controlled HUD productivity: The Heads-Up Display, unique to Ubuntu, makes it fast and easy to do complex
things on touch devices, and transforms touch interfaces
for rich applications, bringing all the power of the PC to
• Edge magic for cleaner apps: Screen edges are used for navigation between apps, settings and controls. That makes
for less clutter, more content, and sleeker hardware. No
physical or soft buttons are required. It’s pure touch elegance.
• Content focus: Media is neatly presented on the customisable home screen, which can search hundreds of
sources. Perfect for carriers and content owners that want
to highlight their own content, while still providing access
to a global catalogue.
• Full convergence: The tablet interface is presented by exactly the same OS and code that provides the phone,
PC and TV interfaces, enabling true device convergence.
Ubuntu is uniquely designed to scale smoothly across all
The Ubuntu tablet interface supports screen sizes from 6”
to 20” and resolutions from 100 to 450 PPI. “The tablet
fits perfectly between phone and PC in the Ubuntu family”
says Oren Horev, lead designer for the Ubuntu tablet
experience. “Not only do we integrate phone apps in a
distinctive way, we shift from tablet to PC very smoothly
in convergence devices.”
On high end silicon, Ubuntu offers a full PC experience
when the tablet is docked to a keyboard, with access to
remote Windows applications over standard protocols from
Microsoft, Citrix, VMware and Wyse. “An Ubuntu tablet is
a secure thin client that can be managed with the same
tools as any Ubuntu server or desktop,” said Stephane Verdy,
who leads enterprise desktop and thin client products at
Canonical. “We are delighted to support partners on touch
and mobile thin clients for the enterprise market.”
Even without chipset-specific optimisation, Ubuntu
performs beautifully on entry level hardware. “Our four-year
engagement with ARM has shaped Ubuntu for mobile”
said Rick Spencer, VP Ubuntu Engineering at Canonical.
“We benefit from the huge number of contributing
developers who run Ubuntu every day, many of whom
are moving to touch devices as their primary development
environment.” For silicon vendors, Ubuntu is compatible
with any Linux-oriented Board Support Package (BSP).
This means Ubuntu is easy to enable on most chipset
designs that are currently running Android. Ubuntu and
Android are the two platforms enabled by Linaro members.
The Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu will be published
on the 21st February 2013 with installation instructions
for the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablet devices as well
as smartphones such as the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus.
Installable images and source code will be available from
The Preview SDK, which currently supports phone app
development, will now be updated to support tablet apps
as well. Uniquely, on Ubuntu, developers can create a single
application that works on the phone, tablet, PC and TV
because it is the same system and all services work across
all form factors.